About 140 people came to Geneva House for an “Open Talk about Pornography.” Geneva House is the Christian Reformed chaplaincy at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ont. CRC campus chaplain Steve Kooy said the ministry sponsors a public speaker on campus each fall. This year’s speaker was chosen by the ministry team, he said, because “a lot of guys—and many women too—are struggling with this issue.”
Daniel Gilman, pastor of an inner city Christian church in Ottawa, Ont., told the audience that his interest in pornography grew out of his work as a speechwriter for a Member of Parliament who was fighting human trafficking.
He told the story of a young woman he interviewed who was a victim of human trafficking. As a university student, she was lured into the pornography industry by the promise of quick money in exchange for removing her clothing in front of a camera. She accepted a drink to help her relax and remembers very little of what happened between that and finding herself back in her own car with a wad of cash and a violated body. Overwhelmed with feelings of disgust and self-loathing, the woman dropped out of university and spent several years working as a “porn star” before finding a way out of the industry. The woman told Gilman that the most difficult encounter of her porn career was a chance meeting with a young man who recognized her face and enthusiastically described to her that first violation of her body that she had blotted out of her memory.
Gilman cited grim statistics, including that 88 percent of the most common porn sites show physical violence forced upon women. “Porn is rape,” he said. “This is mainstream porn, and many studies show that 60 to 80 percent of men and 48 percent of women in our culture watch it at least once or twice per month.”
He said the challenge is to change, to fight back. This includes open discussion of one’s porn addiction, being accountable to a friend rather than fighting alone, cutting off access to porn, getting involved in “caring for others” activities, and having a greater desire, a greater pleasure, a greater song.
The Power to Change (formerly Campus Crusade for Christ) and the university’s interfaith chaplain, Kate Johnson, co-sponsored the event.